Zero Energy Ready Home Communities

A Virginia builder takes his long-time passion for energy efficient homes to Zero Energy Ready Home communities.
Zero Energy Ready Home Communities
Builder/Developer, Jay Epstein, owner of Health E Community Enterprises first began creating efficient homes in the 70’s. He won the very first Energy Value Housing Award for affordable homes in 1997 - the first year the program was offered. And after hearing about the U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home program in 2015, he built a home that eventually received a 2016 Housing Innovation Award. Epstein’s first Zero Energy Ready Home community, Rocketts Landing, in Richmond, VA, consisted of 28 homes that all had solar panels installed. He was so convinced his customers would see energy savings that his company guaranteed to pay buyers’ energy bills if they exceeded $1.50/day averaged over the course of a year. To achieve the Zero Energy Ready Home label, homes are required to have the following (as of May 1, 2019): ENERGY STAR for Homes Baseline Envelope - Fenestration shall meet or exceed ENERGY STAR requirements Duct System - Duct distribution systems... read more
 

Energy Updates

If you subscribe to various newsletters you probably find your inbox overflowing with emails every week. Here’s a quick update of some interesting energy happenings.
Energy Updates
Finding the time to read everything you’ve subscribed to can be stressful (because you want to read it all, but rarely have time). This week we’re going to do a quick recap and look at who is making interesting moves in the energy realm. Tech Giants No matter how you feel about Facebook as a company, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a goal for all their data centers and offices to utilize 100% renewable energy by 2020. They’ve already signed deals to buy wind and solar power near their other data centers around the world. This latest move will be to build a solar farm on land in West Texas, named Prospero Solar, which will be about five times the size of Central Park with a capacity of 379 megawatts. The project has a financing package alone of $416 million. Partnerships ASHRAE president, Sheila Hayter, and Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), recently signed an agreement to collaborate, “in the... read more
 

Trek In to High Performance Homes

The first step is sometimes the most difficult. Are you ready for the Trek In to High Performance Homes?
Trek In to High Performance Homes
It’s hard to believe but we’re just 4 short months away from the next EEBA High Performance Home Summit, October 1-3 in Denver. This year’s theme, Reach for the Summit, focuses on looking towards a future where every home is high performing, healthy, and resilient. Getting to that goal though can sometimes feel like you’re literally climbing a mountain! In the next months leading up to the Summit, we’ll look at the different levels of climbing that High Performance Home mountain and how you can prepare for each part of the journey. We’ll be your sherpas and offer guidance, support, and teamwork as you prepare to ascend the mountain. The first step is the Trek In. It seems easy enough but the Trek In is often identified as “a long and difficult journey, especially in the mountains, as an adventure.” You may not like the word “difficult” in there, but what’s great about the Trek In is that it doesn’t have to be alone! And if you’re reading this and ready to commit to defining... read more
 

Around the World: Housing 4.0

A region in Europe is looking at how to improve building methods to help move towards EU 2030 energy goals.
Around the World: Housing 4.0
Framework climate and energy goals. As the most industrialized region in NWE, the private housing sector also accounts for almost one-third of all C02 emissions. The EU 2030 Framework goals are to cut C02 emissions by 40%, increase the use of renewable energy by 27% and to provide at least 27% energy savings across Europe. Interreg North-West Europe project Housing 4.0 Energy (H4.0E) is a group of companies and individuals around NWE, working together to solve their housing and energy crisis. H4.0E is funded by € 2.5 Million in European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (perspective: the ERDF total budget is € 4.2 Million) and looks to develop low-energy, low-carbon, near-zero energy affordable housing that is easily repeatable using digitization. H4.0E is focused on a Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) approach using digital design and self-building to simplify the building process. The 48 near zero energy/zero energy pilot homes will be built within the first 18... read more
 

Where Energy Advancements Will Take Us

Where Energy Advancements Will Take Us
Last week we wrote about a couple funding opportunities through the Department of Energy. Another $33.5 million is now available through the Building Technologies Office for energy efficient, advanced building construction technologies and practices. The BTO’s focus will be to “develop deep energy retrofit and new construction technologies that holistically tackle a combination of envelope, heating, cooling, water heating, and ventilation issues, and hold appeal for both building owners and occupants.” Concept papers are due 6/10/19. The topics of interest for this FOA are: Integrated Building Retrofits New Construction Technologies Advanced Technology Integration Why should you care about these types of announcements? Because they are opportunities for us to advance our industry and to take advantage of the energy breakthroughs that are continuing to push down the cost of renewable energy. Solar farms are showing up in communities and large corporations are... read more
 

DOE to Invest $98 Million in Research and Development Programs

The DOE is prepared to invest $98 million towards domestic manufacturing of energy storage and technologies.
DOE to Invest $98 Million in Research and Development Programs
A recent Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) by the Department of Energy (DOE) is requesting proposals in three areas to improve U.S. competitiveness surrounding energy technologies and domestic manufacturing for energy storage. The FOA will look to support innovative, advanced manufacturing research and development programs focused on advanced materials, industrial efficiency and productivity, and the electrical grid. "By focusing on energy-related advanced manufacturing technologies, we are building a new era of manufacturing that will stimulate the economy, create jobs and build American energy independence," says U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. $98 million in awards will be funded to high-impact, early to mid-stage research in three topic areas: Topic 1: Innovations for the Manufacture of Advanced Materials Focuses on employing machine learning to develop better batteries, phase change storage materials for heating and cooling applications, and new... read more
 

Why I Love the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge!

A Former Competitor’s Take on the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge
Why I Love the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge!
by Nathan Kahre Long nights, worrying over designs, stressing over deadlines, and more work than I have ever been put through before, this is what I remember from when I competed in what was Race to Zero, now the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge. What I also remember is the time spent working with a team, iterations of energy models, and the joy of getting to present all my hard work. I thank Solar Decathlon Design Challenge for the opportunities that I have had in the high-performance home industry. The competition forced me to take the theoretical and make it real. It also put me in connection with experts across the country and landed me my first job in the industry. After spending a day of stressing over the competition, I ended up meeting this crazy production builder that was focusing on net zero homes and wanted to implement new products and techniques to improve the indoor air quality in their homes and hopefully impact the health of the occupants. That twenty-minute ... read more
 

Upcoming EEBA Educational Courses

Looking to refresh your knowledge and grab some CEUs? Attend an upcoming EEBA educational course and receive both!
Upcoming EEBA Educational Courses
Mike Barcik, Senior Engineer at Southface Institute, will be leading The HERS Associate & Taking the Performance Path: An Introduction to the HERS Index & IECC Compliance in Orlando, FL on May 14, 2019. The HERS Associate & Taking the Performance Path: An Introduction to the HERS Index & IECC Compliance course is a one-day event that reviews the HERS Index, RESNET, and Building Science principles as they relate to the Performance Path option in the IECC. Participants will learn about the strategies and tools used by HERS Raters to perform analysis of a house to produce a HERS Index Score. The last part of the session will be spent reviewing energy rating software that is most often used by HERS professionals, and manipulating various construction assemblies to see the effect of HERS Index scores. CEUs are available for AIA/CES (HSW), BPI, ICC, NAHB, NARI and NATE. The course will be held at Trane North Florida DSO, 3401 WD Judge Road, Suite 110, Orlando FL ... read more
 

EEBA Recap of the Design Challenge

Students involved with the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge produce some amazing projects and prove why they are invaluable to the future of our industry.
EEBA Recap of the Design Challenge
Last weekend EEBA Executive Director, Nancy Bakeman, had the privilege of attending the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon Design Challenge in Golden, Colorado. Over 400 people with a wide variety of backgrounds were in attendance at what Bakeman says was an “energizing and inspiring” event. “These kids are brilliant, and it was such a cool experience to see,” says Bakeman. Before the event even began, teams had to produce a 60+ page report outlining all the details of their project. The weekend itself was packed with events, tours of the National Renewable Energy Lab, presentations and some fun team challenges. On Saturday Bakeman listened to many of the amazing presentations and had a chance to talk with the students. First place awards were handed out to the Design Challenge teams in six different categories on Sunday morning during breakfast. In addition, 11 teams in the Build Challenge were announced that are able to move forward with their... read more
 

In Honor or Earth Day, We’re Giving You a High Performance Offer

For a limited time, EEBA is offering a deep discount on the 2019 High Performance Home Summit.
In Honor or Earth Day, We’re Giving You a High Performance Offer
From October 1-3 builders, architects, educators, manufacturers and energy geeks from around the country will descend upon Denver, Colorado for the 37th Annual High Performance Home Summit. EEBA is offering a 25% discount on the already reduced rate - but only through Earth Day, Monday, April 22nd! This year’s theme, Reach for the Summit: A Future Where Every Home is High Performing, Healthy & Resilient, is appropriately titled - Colorado is home to over 50 fourteeners (mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet). The conference theme will focus on the following goals: The Trek In A commitment to defining and building high performance homes Base Camp Knowing where you are and identifying your goals Acclimatization Understanding the methodologies, materials, and strategies to achieve success The Summit Verifiable performance and measured success Our host hotel will be the Embassy Suites Denver Downtown. It is conveniently located less than a mile from Denver... read more